Time Blocking

Set up a time-blocking schedule to get the most important work done. Create placeholders for recurring tasks that you need focussed time for.

Use this time-blocking template to write down the commitments you have every day/week/month.

‍Write down recurring commitments

Write down the 80% most important tasks you’re working on weekly.

Fill out the "Commitments" tab in the Time-Blocking Template. This list will be added to the Ideal Calendar Template as well. In the example, I've added stuff for me as an entrepreneur - your list will be different. 

These questions might help:

  • What work do you have to hand over when you go on a longer holiday?
  • What is in the job description you were hired to do?
  • What are the recurring meetings in your calendar (go back 4 weeks and look forward 4 weeks)
  • Reporting, analysing, thinking about strategy should be on the list as well

Schedule the commitments in the weekly calendar

Go to the 2nd tab in the sheet and add blocks of time for each commitment. On the right hand side are your commitments. Check them off when you've added them.

The likely outcome is that you have too many commitments. If that's the case, prioritise the work and see if you can delegate the work to other people.

Tips for filling out the template

  1. Pick a theme day to give you focus and a purpose per day of the week. Meetings, Reporting, Optimisation, New Campaigns could be themes
  2. Create buffer time after large blocks.. Keep 15 minutes after a meeting free to write the meeting notes. (Also see ‘Keep Room for Error’)
  3. Don’t schedule 100% of your time - Schedule 60-80% of the available time. You’ll always have ‘fires’ that need to be extinguished.
  4. Leave Friday afternoon unscheduled as a ‘fire-break’ (or the last day of your working week if you don’t work on Friday).
  5. Block out evenings in Google Calendar (set working hours) and in your calendar. This prevents you from scheduling tasks in the evenings.
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Create a time-blocking calendar in Google Calendar

When I first started using this, I added all the recurring blocks to my 'normal' calendar. That doesn't work because meetings will be scheduled and the schedule you've made won't follow the reality of meetings :)

That's why I created a secondary 'Ideal Week' Calendar. This way I can check how I did in a week. Here's how to configure Google Calendar properly.

I'll show you how to set up a secondary calendar that you can use as a lay-over on top of your 'normal' calendar. That way other people can't see your new setup and you can play around with it.

Add recurring meetings for time-blocks

When you have the secondary calendar set up, add the commitments to your calendar. Make sure to repeat them every week (or whatever the frequency is).

Change colours between primary and secondary calendars

To better distinguish the 2 calendars, change the default colour.

Reflect on Ideal Weekly schedule compared to actual calendar

At the end of the week, display the time-blocking calendar on top of your primary calendar. How well did you stick to the schedule? It's important to keep a growth mindset. Don't beat yourself up if the 2 calendars are different.

What can you learn from it? Maybe some commitments were missing. Or maybe other projects that had a higher priority came up. Have the (internal) dialogue on what's most important. That's the goal of time-blocking: What can we learn from how we spend our time?

Conclusion for time-blocking & ideal weekly schedule

It's my goal to help you be more aware about how you spend your time. Implementing a schedule that works for you takes time and it won't be perfect immediately. That's OK. Keep growing and learning what works for you.

Use this time-blocking template to write down the commitments you have every day/week/month.

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About Ewoud

Ewoud Uphof

Ewoud Uphof is an experienced Growth Hacker, certified funnel optimiser and investor.

In the past decade he has co-founded multiple companies. As Head of Growth he has helped grow 50+ companies ranging from start-ups to multinationals. He has worked for Camptoo, NU.nl, Sophia Mae, Koffievoordeel and many more.

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